Delicate rescue of elderly wallaby stuck in thick mud

Melissa Buttigieg
News Reporter

Incredible photos show an elderly wallaby being rescued from thick mud in Victoria.

The terrified marsupial found itself stuck in the thick black mud as it tried to run away from a local who was on a bushwalk at Trentham, near Daylesford – northwest of Melbourne, on Saturday morning.

The local identified as Henry spotted the troubled male wallaby and tried desperately for two hours to save the native animal from what he described as “quicksand”.

A terrified elderly wallaby was rescued after two hours trapped in thick black mud in regional Victoria. Source: Manfred Zabinskas

The pair gradually sank deeper and deeper into the dense mud, so Henry was forced to give up and call East Trentham Wildlife Shelter for help.

It was about 11am when wildlife carer Manfred Zabinskas found the wallaby trapped and exhausted in “very sticky mud”.

“There’s no end to the situations these animals find themselves in,” he told Yahoo News Australia.

Mr Zabinskas used his dog-catching pole and looped a noose under the creature’s arms to pull and jiggle him to freedom.

A dog-catching pole was used to pull the creature to freedom with a fair bit of force. Source: Manfred Zabinskas

It took less than 10 minutes but required considerable force to break the suction of the mud, the wildlife carer said.

“I was surprised about the level of effort I needed to extract him. He wouldn’t have made it out by himself... It would have been a horrible death,” Mr Zabinskas said.

“The wallaby was completely coated in the black sludge and he was exhausted. His eyes and ears were full of mud.

“It was a quite a cold day. The mud was cold and wet and he was shivering when we got him out.”

The wallaby was completely coated in black sludge and he was exhausted. Source: Manfred Zabinskas

Mr Zabinskas, a wildlife carer of 30 years, said the wallaby was trembling through a combination of fear and hypothermia.

He took the animal to his rescue shelter for an urgent clean.

The wallaby was treated with warm water and electric blankets and named Gerry after one of the songwriters of Stuck in the Middle with You, Gerry Rafferty.

Gerry is aged about 14 years, with the species having a life expectancy of about 12 to 18 years in the wild, making him a senior citizen, Mr Zabinskas said.

He appeared to have battled through a fair bit before becoming stuck, with one eye missing, and worn teeth and ears.

The wallaby has taken well to his care, showing no desperation to be back in the wild.

“He’s come to terms with us. He’s figured out he’s safe and that we’re helping,” Mr Zabinskas said.

The carers plans to release Gerry back home once he regains his strength and is well enough to live independently again, but for now the “old man” needs his rest.

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